Monday, January 6, 2020

Who's a good boy?

A friend whose hobbies include collecting medals kindly gave me one some time ago.  Thinking about this last decade and how I have behaved I was reminded of this small medal. It was given at school to reward a boy's good conduct.  Apparently it was initially used from 1843 to 1869, though some schools used it later on.

One side shows a school boy (complete with cap) walking along a country path. Above him it reads: The Good Boy.  He holds a book in one hand - a sign of his schooling.  In the near background (on the left) a beehive is alive with buzzing.  On the right hand side in far distance are houses clustered under a tall church steeple. The coin's other side says simply: A reward for good conduct.  

My friend gently asked me what I thought the beehive and church steeple stood for.  I had no trouble with the steeple and piety.  He then told me that the beehive was a common image for industry.  These two criteria - piety and industry were key to being a good boy in 1843.

How appropriate are these two to being good in 2020?  I guess that industry - a strong work ethic - is still up there as a respected quality.  But for most people the idea that piety - a reverence for God with love, duty and humility - is equally important as industry is deemed utter nonsense.  Today, how you think of God, if you ever do, is considered the private matter for (the few) religiously minded people.

This little coin made me think. I recognize that my work ethic has been part of seeking to live for God and his ways.  I admit that in 2019 it's been patchy and falls far short of a good boy reward but this twin track still matters as I look ahead, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Dawneen Suriano said...

Thanks for your example of transparent self examination Michael.